Ursula Mead is the CEO and founder of InHerSight, an anonymous company reviews platform where women rate the woman-friendliness of more than 150,000 companies. InHerSight gives women an inside look at how companies promote gender diversity before they take the job, and helps companies build and showcase women-friendly cultures. In 2017, InHerSight was named to CNBC’s Upstart 25 list of up-and-coming companies breaking industry barriers on the path to becoming tomorrow’s household names. Prior to founding InHerSight, Ursula was the VP of Product and Membership at The Motley Fool, where she helped the world invest better.
Ursula received her Bachelor of Arts from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead-Cain scholar, and got her Masters in International Affairs from The Elliott School at George Washington University.
1. What is in your pockets?
I would be remiss if I didn’t use this question as an opportunity to follow in Brooks Bell’s footsteps (from Brooks’ Download Q&A) and mention that pockets actually have quite a gendered history. In fact there’s what you could call a “pocket gender gap” where much of women’s clothing is either pocketless or has wildy insufficient pockets that can barely fit anything. Whereas men’s clothes almost always have functional pockets. The gendered pocket saga is a long one, but today there are entire businesses focused on creating women and girls’ clothes with bigger, more useful pockets to bridge the pocket gap.
All that said, I tend to carry as little as possible and don’t depend on my pockets for anything. My Macbook Air, phone, and license pretty much get me where I need to go and I use a backpack for those.
2. What exciting thing has happened recently for you or your organization?
For our team, exciting and compelling mean the same thing. The pandemic, BLM, and other events this past year have really underlined the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion at companies all over. We’re excited to have such energy around the space we work in, to have more people seeking resources that bolster equity for all people at work. Helping organizations take their first steps toward inclusivity and allyship is a compelling and invigorating challenge, and helping the millions of women whose careers have been upended find their paths is such an important task.
3. What is your favorite coffee spot?
My kitchen! It’s been more than a year since I’ve had coffee from anywhere else. I used to love treating myself to the occasional cappuccino from The Durham Hotel and supplement that with a croissant, but truth be told my favorite coffee has always come from my own pour-over device.
4. What keeps you up at night?
I’m a working mom during the pandemic, so lots of things keep me up at night. My schedule has been completely upended by the pandemic and childcare challenges. I started lockdown with a 3-month-old, which says enough, and am a startup founder with a platform that has never been more in need than right now. So, I spend a lot of nighttime hours just working.
5. What is your favorite restaurant or happy hour?
I love Guglhupf in Durham. From their fabulous breads to beautiful pastries to best pancakes in the Triangle, that’s probably my most frequented dining establishment.
6. What is next for you or your organization?
We’ve actually got a big new product in the works, something I’ve been dreaming about building since before we even started writing code for InHerSight. I don’t want to give too much away but I will tell you that it really harnesses the power of the tens of millions of data points that women have shared about their experiences at work to drive effective, scalable results for companies who want to make meaningful changes for women and talent from underrepresented backgrounds. We’ll have to check back in when it’s live. Maybe I’ll be carrying more in my pockets then, too.